Ann Arbor Area Community News
Considering the level of interest in the DDA on this site recently, I attended their April Board meeting yesterday (first Wednesdays, noon, Kerrytown Concert House). The following is a smorgasbord of notes that I came out of the meeting with, along with some relevant outside information; no linkage between topics is implied:
> getDowntown is holding Curb Your Car Month again this May, with almost daily events (including a Mother’s Day “Ann Arbor Greenway Trek with ‘Mom’”).
> AATA’s Link will be stopping service in May (conveniently enough), and may restart service in September if funding can be found. The DDA has been asked to contribute something in the range of $150k to the Link and declined(?) pending further evidence of the Link’s value.
> The parking fee system was discussed, with the feeling that it promoted the opposite behavior from what was intended. The cheapest parking option for a downtown employee is to park at a meter all day and pay a “Within 24 hours” $5 ticket, and the second cheapest option is to feed a meter all day. Evening restaurant employees often park at meters at 4pm and pay until 6pm, rather than using structures. These behaviors are counter to the intent of metered parking – to provide short-term parking close to businesses for patrons. The City is considering raising the expired meter ticket to $10, but some downtown businesses are worried. The DDA plans to discuss changing enforcement hours on meters or adjusting relative rates.
> On Monday, 11 April, Rene Greff and Leah Gunn will be talking to the Women Progressive Activists along with Doug Cowherd and Alice Ralph about various ideas of the greenway.
> Fred Beal and Leah Gunn are on the selection committee for the old Y site redevelopment plans, which first met this week. I’ve found that you can view photocopies of the proposals if you visit the County Annex on Fourth, but it takes a FOIA to get copies to take with you.
> Mayor Hieftje noted that Governor Granholm will be creating (has created?) a Local Government Financing Task Force this year to address the fact that the state’s Cities are on the edge of fiscal collapse. As previously discussed on this site, the Michigan property tax system is broken, from the cities’ point of view, and favors growth of greenfield Townships.
> A Whitmore Lake company called Interstate Traveler wants to build an elevated maglev transit system down Woodward, using private funding from undisclosed sources, and Ferndale has thrown its support (political, not fiscal) behind the project. According to ITC’s website, the system will be financially self-supporting, will run on solar energy from panels lining the track, will capture stormwater in underground tanks below the track and use excess solar power to convert it to hydrogen, and will save the US steel industry, and all they want is a right-of-way down the middle of Woodward to plant their support pylons in. Mayor Hieftje mentioned that ITC is also interested in the Ann Arbor/Ypsi/DTW/Detroit corridor.
These are my hurried notes from the audience; I’m counting on Bob Dascola or Leah to note any corrections or clarifications.
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